commissioner

Commissioner Fried Submits Testimony to U.S. Senate Ag Committee on Unfair Trade

Clint Thompson Florida, Trade

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade, urging Congress to address unfair foreign trade practices causing decades-long harm to Florida farmers and the lack of protections for the domestic seasonal produce industry.

commissioner
Nikki Fried
Florida Agriculture Commissioner

“Our state’s fruit and vegetable farming industry alone supports 68,700 jobs and creates $5 billion in annual cash receipts. In this time of heightened food insecurity both at home and abroad and with food costs skyrocketing, protecting the domestic food supply chain is a matter of national security. Our producers work tirelessly to feed our families and communities; we need to have their backs,” wrote Commissioner Fried.

“Passing the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act (H.R. 3926 and S. 2080) is something that Congress can and should take up without further delay to protect the strength of our domestic industry while we continue to work together to navigate the current challenges facing the industry,” she concluded.

Background

Commissioner Fried remains an outspoken advocate for the domestic seasonal produce industry, continuously calling for timely and effective relief for farmers in Florida and across the United States since taking office in 2019. In August 2020, Commissioner Fried testified at a virtual hearing held by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce, presenting a major report showing the economic harm these trade distorting policies are having on Florida farmers and our economy overall.

Following the August 2020 hearing, the same three federal agencies outlined a plan to help the domestic seasonal produce industry, and Commissioner Fried reiterated her commitment to holding the administration accountable for delivering enforceable protections and access to relief for Florida’s farmers. Coming out of that hearing, the ITC launched multiple investigations into the impacts of increased foreign imports on several seasonal crops. In addition to testifying before the ITC on cucumbers and squash, Commissioner Fried also testified at its investigations into blueberries and provided comments on its strawberry and bell pepper investigation since no formal hearing was held. Commissioner Fried continues to work closely with Florida’s specialty crop growers and members of Congress demanding protections for the domestic seasonal produce industry.

A copy of the Commissioner’s statement for the record can be found here.